I suppose it was, in reality, a three pronged thread of thoughts? My post alluded to the collecting of old books, birds and their present status v's that of an age gone by and the unrealistic expectations of some individuals who are perfectly happy to welcome the new, without any acceptance of the factors behind the occurrence? So I suppose it is only right that I start with the books - that motley assemblage which passes as my reference collection. Although I do have a substantial number of angling publications dating back to 1916, it is my bird books which offer the greatest interest and diversity of subject matter and writing styles. My oldest books are a fourteen volume set of Lloyd's Natural History, published in 1896, leather bound, there are four volumes dedicated to British Birds and within these pages are contained some brilliant descriptive writing of a style that has now been long abandoned. Some birds have undergone name changes, others have now been removed from the "British List" - e.g. Eagle Owl. They remain a most treasured possession.
|Lloyd's Natural History - 1896|
|Looking a little worse for wear, these type of books are frequently|
discovered in charity shops where they can be purchased for a
few pounds, at most!
|The memories of childhood are contained within the battered covers of these iconic books.|
How could I possibly throw them away?
So to the "Tree Hugging Bunny Cuddlers!" - Save the Whale, Save the pond, Don't build here, but don't knock down that bridge - you what? Cake and eat it! Climate change is happening, speeded by the global populous and their industrial pollution, but it's not a new concept - we can see the effects of the last "Ice Age" on the landscape of Britain - huge glacier scalloped valleys in the mountain regions of our countryside. I don't suppose there were too many moaning when that finished? Flora and fauna will adapt to whatever conditions provide. Colonisation will be based upon suitability of habitat and climate. If things change then there will be winners and losers, just as we are witnessing at present. Preserving habitat won't ensure continued occupation of the entire ecosystem, because climate might make it unsuited to the requirements of some species. Some will be lost, thus providing a niche for new ones to move in. Hence the joyous proclamation of "Another new species for the UK list" as a moth gets pinned and handed into the National Collection. It is an increasingly regular occurrence, as can be seen in the moth traps across southern England. Species which were regarded as "megas" are now colonists - this happening within a decade, such is the ability of insects to exploit new opportunities. Birds are capable of the same transitions, but over a much longer time scale. I am not condoning the situation, I am just offering my opinions as a realist. Of course we need to attempt to manage our countryside to the benefit of our native wildlife. Leaving it alone is not an answer; the landscape looks like it does because of the actions of man and the only way to preserve it is our continued intervention and management. However, even with all the best will in the world, the creatures benefiting from the endeavours might not be those for which they were intended?
|To finish on a brighter note - this is an illustration from Vol 3 of|
Lloyd's Natural History British Birds.
GREENLAND FALCON now I wouldn't mind seeing one of them!